Beretta proudly supports six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, the first American in any individual sport to win six medals in six consecutive Olympic Games.
At a trade show, my daughter Lea met Kim and was thrilled to have her as a mentor. Meeting Kim was an unforgettable experience for Lea, who was nervous and in awe of Kim's medals. After some stammering, Lea was able to ask the friendly Olympian some questions.
Q: How did you get into competitive shooting?
Kim: Shooting for me was something passed down from generation to generation in my family and it just grew. Somebody asked me, “Why don’t you try the state shoot?” and before I knew it I was going to my first Olympics. Shooting was very much a passion in the beginning and turned into the love of the sport.
Q: Did you ever consider shooting competitively in .22 or any other events?
Kim: A little-known fact. I competed in .22 rifle. At 10 years old, I started off in the junior NRA program at the local club. I did really well, winning the club events. They started a shotgun program once a month. It was through that program that I was introduced to the excitement of moving targets, I was hooked, beginning my shotgun career.
Q: Do you remember your first competition?
Kim: I don’t remember the very first competition, but back in the day, I shot a lot out at Fresno and Bakersfield. They had the state shoot there. We would go down just past the end of the skeet fields and play in the river. A couple times, I almost missed my shoot offs. They were calling for me and had to come fish me out of the river because I was down there swimming. Those were the good old days.
Q: Do you ever have a bad day of shooting?
Kim: I think everybody has bad days. I would be lying if I said “No.” I wish they were all fantastic and every day shooting was perfect but that isn’t the case. How you overcome and work through those obstacles is what makes you a champion. It’s what keeps you coming back again and again. If it were easy, you wouldn’t really appreciate the win or what it took to get there. So yes. I have those bad days, and I miss. The trick as I always say, is not to miss when it counts the most.
Q: How do you shake off a miss or a bad day of shooting?
Kim: I don’t think you really shake it off. It’s one of those things where you kind of accept it, try to work through it and figure it out. Don’t get frustrated, discouraged or mad because that only costs you more birds in the long run. Your goal is to stay strong, keep going and win the competition. It’s never over until it’s over. I focus on the basics and go back to what I know to figure it out. I take it one target at a time.
Q: Do you have any advice for young competitive shooters?
Kim: Focus on drilling targets and working stations, not shooting rounds. and working stations. Be honest with yourself and recognize what your problems or fears may be at a certain target or station. Overcome those problems and fears. That’s what it’s about. When you get into a match, you need to know you can win. Step out on that line and have the confidence to go for your goal and your dream. Put yourself out there. That is key to being successful in this sport. You have to have the desire to never give up.
About Kim Rhode
Since taking her first World Champion title in American Skeet at the age of 13, Kim has remained a staple in the competitive shotgun sports world with 15 national and 52 international medals including medaling in six Olympic Games. When she is not at the range, Kim spends her time as an advocate for the 2nd Amendment and shooting sports as a board member of the Kids and Clays Foundation, National Rifle Association, and the California Rifle & Pistol Association as well as serving as one of four Vice Presidents of the International Shooting Sports Federation.
AUTHOR | MIA ANSTINE